Pambalong Swamp & Ash Island NSW Trip Report

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Subject: Pambalong Swamp & Ash Island NSW Trip Report
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 14:28:08 +1100
35 members and friends of Birding NSW Central Coast Group met at Minmi in the lower Hunter Valley at 830 hrs and spent the first two hours at Pambalong Swamp. The swamp had recently refilled with water following a dry period over Christmas and the commonest birds present were Straw-necked and White Ibis & Black Swans, of which hundreds of each species were present. For whatever reason one White Ibis and one Straw-necked Ibis were seen to be constructing nests in the small paperbarks present in the Swamp. 57 species seen here including a Wedge-tailed Eagle, Hobby, Whistling Kites, one or two Latham's Snipe, 2 Drongos,  Sacred Kingfisher, White-breasted Woodswallows, a lone  Plumed Whistling Duck, plenty of Hardheads and the other common ducks while Brown Quail were calling throughout our visit.
Following morning tea when Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Variegated Fairy-wrens were added to our list, we moved off to the Ash Island Ponds. Here we caught up with a number of other birdos who had come to see the Yellow Wagtails present at the Ponds since 23/02/01. While the early visitors were successful in seeing one Yellow Wagtail prior to our visit, only two people in our group had fleeting views of one bird throughout the morning. However there is a lot of saltmarsh habitat to cover when looking for such birds! Our highlights included a Black-tailed Godwit amongst all the Sharp-tailed & Marsh Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Red-necked Stints and Eastern Curlews. 100's Black-winged Stilts and Avocets were seen, and good views were had of 3 Spotted Crakes, a lone adult Gull-billed Tern, 3 Whistling Kites, Brown Falcon, Peregrine, Kestrel, Swamp Harrier and nesting Black-shouldered Kites. During lunch we had good views of  Sea-eagles being mobbed by Kites and a Kestrel. A short visit to the Rainforest Walk added a few bushbirds to our list. After we left the Island, Ted Nixon stayed behind and with 3 other observers combed the ponds area for the Wagtails and at 1830 hrs they were rewarded with a sighting of one Yellow Wagtail in partial breeding plumage, north of Crake Corner!
On our return trip we spent some time at Leneghan Drive Swamp, Minmi where we picked up Yellow-billed Spoonbill, female Musk Duck, Hoary-headed Grebes, Intermediate Egrets and another Whistling Tree-duck. Our group had seen 105 species for the day, possibly the highest number of species observed on a CCFOC Outing!
Alan Morris
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